Lynchburg, VA - Downtown Lynchburg was 'abuzz' Monday, as local businesses took part in a Small Business Crawl. The Internet Association put on the event. The goal is to spotlight Internet success stories on Main Street USA.
It is similar to a pub crawl. Area leaders stopped by four small business that have all been helped by the power of the Internet. Each has its own success story. Their first stop: The Gladiola Girls.
Gladiola Girls is a clothing boutique in downtown Lynchburg. The owner says with the help of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest more customers walk through their doors.
"People come in and say, 'I saw this dress or I saw this Tunic on Facebook,'" said Renee Wood, owner, Gladiola Girls.
Two weeks after kicking off their pinterest campaign, their popularity boosted dramatically.
"We had 10 times more followers by the end than we did in the beginning," said Wood.
The next stop on the crawl was Sam Stroud Photography.
"That's why we've gone from 15 to 60 to 80 to 100 weddings," said Sam Stroud.
Stroud says social media made his website the most viewed blog in Lynchburg.
"The bride, her social network now sees all of her wedding photos, and if you do a good job, which I feel we do, it turns into business for us," said Stroud.
That's helped his business grow to a team of eight photographers.
"From that wedding we got a ton of bookings," said Stroud.
"Really, the Internet is the future of our economy it's the economic engine for our economy," said Michael Beckerman, president & CEO.
Michael Beckerman is President & CEO of the Internet Association.
"We want to tell the stories about how these companies are creating value and helping businesses to grow and hire new people and create economic value," said Beckerman.
Stories like Sam Stroud's is living proof, social media pays off.
"I would say, you're an idiot if you're not, as a business, doing it," said Stroud.
The Internet Association plans to take the small business crawls to towns all over the country.